Continental and Aurora partner to produce commercially scalable autonomous trucking systems

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An exclusive partnership between Continental and Aurora Innovation aims to deliver the first commercially scalable generation of the latter’s flagship integrated hardware and software system, Aurora Driver.

Together, the companies will design, develop, validate, deliver and service the scalable autonomous system for the commercial trucking industry. The system is expected to be available for carriers and commercial fleet operators in the USA.

Drawing on its experience in systems development to provide safe and reliable automotive solutions, Continental will help to industrialize Aurora Driver and deliver the entire hardware set in addition to a new fallback system. If a failure were to occur in the primary autonomy system, the fallback system would enable the driverless truck to continue its journey until it reached a safe location. Furthermore, Continental will be responsible for the complete lifecycle of its supplied autonomous hardware kits for Aurora Driver, beginning at the production line right through to decommissioning.

With Aurora Horizon – Aurora’s subscription trucking service underpinned by Aurora Driver – expected to launch in 2024, production of the autonomous hardware kits is planned to begin in 2027.

“At Continental, we are proud to demonstrate our leading technology expertise by being responsible for the development, manufacturing and implementation of the autonomous driving system kits and the fallback path for Aurora’s autonomy system,” said Nikolai Setzer, CEO of Continental. ”In this exclusive partnership, we bundle our systems competence with Aurora’s industry-leading autonomous technology for our common goal to jointly realize the first commercially scalable autonomous trucking systems – a crucial step toward autonomous mobility.”

“Delivering autonomous vehicles at scale has the potential to dramatically transform modern transportation, bringing new accessibility, safety and efficiency to the movement of goods and people,” commented Chris Urmson, co-founder and CEO at Aurora. “Continental’s legacy in development and industrialization of automated driving systems, combined with its commitment to transform transportation, make it an ideal partner for Aurora. Their depth of expertise will be pivotal to scaling Aurora’s autonomous trucking service, Aurora Horizon.”

The autonomous driving system kits will use several Continental components, including sensors, automated driving control units (ADCU), high-performance computers (HPC) and telematics units. These hardware components will be integrated into pods and supplied to Aurora’s vehicle manufacturing partners. The parts are expected to be produced and assembled at Continental’s newly built manufacturing facility in New Braunfels, Texas, and other international sites.

“Continental and Aurora will bring the commercial freight market, limited by supply chain constraints in many markets of the world, to a new service level,” added Frank Petznick, head of Continental’s autonomous mobility business area, which will implement the company’s contributions to the partnership with Aurora. “The first commercially scalable autonomous trucking system provides exciting opportunities for passenger transportation in the coming years and paves the way for broad adoption of autonomous mobility.”

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After spending six years working as a mechanic for various motorsport and high-end performance car companies, Callum joined UKi Media & Events in February 2020 as an assistant editor. In this role he uses his vast practical knowledge and passion for automotive to produce informative news pieces for multiple vehicle-related sectors. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKi Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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